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March 04, 2007


Don Marti

How about "search an area for a certain type of object and photograph all you can find" -- each bot gets to submit a limited number of photos, and the score is the number of photos that have the desired object in them. Start with something easy like a big square of white Tyvek and work your way up.

Kevin Kelly

Not just the Koreans. Georgia Tech in Atlanta has had a UAV contest since at least 2001, maybe earlier. http://uav.ae.gatech.edu/

Ryan Stenson

There are several advanced unmanned systems competitions hosted yearly by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI): http://www.auvsi.org/competitions/ They are collegiate, although some high schools do enter.
(Disclaimer: I used to compete in two of these competitions- AUV and student UAV)

Tom Comeau

Rather than have a rocket shoot things down, have it do "spy shots". The rocket must carry a camera up, re-orient to get the picture, and then deploy a recovery system. (Soft landings required, as they are in the NAR rules.) That makes the GNC problem a little harder, actually, but a lot more fun.


Telstar Logistics/Todd Lappin

Just to add a little more density to the Bay Area autonomous-UAV talent cluster, there's also some research into this area which has been taking place at NASA Ames in Mountain View.

Meanwhile, Steve Jurvetson has also been taking his rocketry to a new level.

Jack Poller

I'm in the process of starting a company to develop UAVs (you can follow my story at www.ventureadventure.net).

I'm not only very interested, but will provide any help possible.

Igor Carron

There is clearly a good reason for making this sort of application happen: Enabling the cheap mapping, near real time. of large swath of land hit by major disasters. Last september we flew a Canon camera in a high altitude balloon, took photos and had them patched automatically using an off the shelf software and obtained this:


I can only imagine the throughput we could get from using several low cost UAVs (since the photos do not need to be taken from the same plane).



Paparazzi is a free and open-source hardware and software project intended to create an exceptionally powerful and versatile autopilot system....

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I had planned on attending the FIRST robotics championships last year, but I had an unforeseen emergency come up with my family. And now I look at the information that will come from that night and I feel even worse about missing it now. I am so looking forward to the next one that I am going to make sure nothing gets in the way of my attending during it. I already have a place I can stay for the week of it so I can cover my bases and be not reachable by anyone on the outside world. I have heard about all the information on the new technologies that was given you and shared. Also, thinking about all the contacts I could have made, it makes me very sad when I think about it. I am so going to be there next year and I can not wait.


I think this is a great idea. I have been a competitor in the International Aerial Robotics Competition (http://avdil.gtri.gatech.edu/AUVS/IARCLaunchPoint.html) for 4 years now and have found it to be a very rewarding experience. The UAVs we have developed are relatively expensive for a hobby or high school competition, but simpler UAVs could be developed for just a few hundred dollars.

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The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Notes and sources for the book

FREE was available in all digital forms--ebook, web book, and audiobook--for free shortly after the hardcover was published on July 7th. The ebook and web book were free for a limited time and limited to certain geographic regions as determined by each national publisher; the unabridged MP3 audiobook (get zip file here) will remain free forever, available in all regions.

Order the hardcover now!